It’s time to find out who won Station of the Year
It’s December, which means it’s time for a little Christmas cheer and Radio Today’s Station of the Year.
Winners have been crowned across Metro, Regional, Provincial, Internet and DAB+.
The scores from the judges were particularly tight in some categories, so tune into this week’s Radio Today Tonight podcast for honourable mentions and some particularly creative entries.
The Station of the Year Awards were made possible by a partnership with RCS, and aim to end a difficult year on a positive note.
Radio Today editor Vivienne Kelly said the creativity and passion in many of the entries – particularly across regional and provincial – really showcased the power of radio.
“The regional and provincial stations really threw all their weight, joy and hard work into their Station of the Year Awards entries. It was really hard to crown a winner and not feel guilty about the others who just missed out,” she said.
“Luckily we had a stellar judging panel who sifted through the entries and gave their time and energy to recognise the best of the best.”
The winner in the Metro category has indisputably had a transformational year and shifted not only the Melbourne radio landscape, but also perceptions of talk radio.
In Internet, there were entries spanning multiple genres, but one entry just scraped ahead.
And in the DAB+ category, well, it’s all about the Christmas cheer.
The audio from the award-winning entries is included below, as well as excerpts from their written submissions, And stay tuned to the Radio Today Tonight podcast and the Radio Today newsletter for more insights from our winners.
Radio Today & RCS Station of the Year Awards
Metro: 3AW Melbourne, Nine Radio
“There is no doubt that the impact of COVID, and the second Melbourne lockdown, drove listeners to 3AW in numbers not seen since 1959. However, it was up to the hard-working on-air and off-air staff of 3AW to live up to their promise to our listeners – to deliver the latest and most accurate news and information.
“Mornings presenter Neil Mitchell says: ‘This is the biggest news story of my career. I shouted at politicians, laughed and cried with listeners as we shared our stories and tried to get each other through it. We ran campaigns to thank medical staff. We talked to front line doctors, nurses and train drivers. COVID affected everyone in Melbourne, and they turned to us for information and companionship.’
“Survey 7 saw 3AW post its best result in 60 years. 3AW recorded an audience share of 20.6% (up 3.7 points), Ross and Russ had another record survey with a 29.8% share (up 2.4 points), Neil Mitchell had a 22.7% (up 3.3 points) and the station was #1 and grew its audience in Afternoons, Drive and Nights.
“2020 reinforced the vital role talk radio plays in our local communities, and 3AW proved itself to be the station the city turns to. It holds a unique place in the Melbourne community.”
Provincial: Triple M Riverina, Southern Cross Austereo
“2020 – a year so bad that the bushfires which devastated the country in January feel like only a blip on the historical radar.
“The beacon of light in the lives of many was just an oncoming train, but for others it was 1152 Triple M…
“The Triple M Riverina team went above and beyond, involving themselves in local fundraising, giving their time to promote, present, and even assist with the co-ordination of charity events that raised tens of thousands of dollars for the local relief efforts…
“COVID-19 struck next and the station again was front and centre ensuring that correct, timely, and reliable information was communicated to the Riverina, while also offering support to those who were suffering.
“The sales team also pivoted their operations and offered businesses a free opportunity to tell their clients how they were operating under restrictions…
“Triple M is also not the ABC, and we work to ensure that we take everything with a grain of salt, a dash of lemon, and a shot of tequila.”
Regional: MIXX FM Colac, ACE Radio
“In July 2020, the community of Colac was making local, national and international headlines for all the wrong reasons! Colac becomes regional Victorian epicentre of COVID-19, as residents move to protect themselves from deadly virus…
“How often do we hear ‘content is king’? In regional radio, that phrase is missing a keyword – ‘LOCAL’ – and during a pandemic, MIXX FM’s commitment to local content has never been more important….
“So, what did we do? Phase 1. “Keep Colac Safe” A strategy to keep our town safe using our on-air and social media assets was developed. We converted an unused sales office into a Green Screen studio, enabling ourselves, the local health authority and local businesses to produce and communicate vital video content. This was used across a variety of social media assets, including our own.
“Phase 2. ‘Control the language’. On July 18 our world changed as an outbreak at a local abattoir meant Colac went from a COVIF-free haven to a hotspot – Australia’s largest, regional COVIF cluster. Using traditional radio and our social media assets we again pushed a hyper-local message about what every individual could do to support our community.
“Phase 3. “Get Back To None”. A DHHS incident control centre was set up including police, logistic experts, and even the army. Their first and last point of call everyday was MIXX FM’s radio and socials…
“The numbers stack up. In a town of only 13,000 people, our Facebook page generated 5.9 million organic impressions; a 91.4% increase on the previous six months. Post engagements also increased by 111% to 1.1 million…”
Internet: iHeartCountry, iHeartRadio/ Australian Radio Network
“Australian country music has never been bigger or stronger. So iHeartCountry Australia was specifically developed to proudly champion the best of Australian country music, alongside the world’s biggest stars. The station is also branded to fit neatly alongside the 12 other US iHeartCountry stations.
“iHeartCountry Australia plays 45% Australian content and champions new and upcoming artists. (Examples include Kaylens Rain, Casey Barnes, Jasmine Rae, Andrew Swift and Michael Waugh). Some of the artist features we use to showcase Australian artists:
- Amber Nights – weekly artist on artist interview show hosted by Amber Lawrence
- The CMC Hot Thirty countdown – The weekly chart produced in partnership with CMC on Foxtel (now sadly off air)
- Country News with Steve Fitton – Weekly news feature across the station highlighting the latest news, releases and tours through an Australian lens.
- Country Town Artist of the Week – a new feature that shines a light on an artist of the week, in partnership with countrytown.com.au…
“The station works closely with labels, event promoters and managers to help connect country music artists with their fans listening. That connection is growing! iHCA has delivered a fantastic 79% YOY growth in total streaming hours listening to the station.
“iHeartCountry Australia, showcasing and championing the best country music for an Australian audience!”
DAB+: Elf Radio, iHeartRadio/ Australian Radio Network
“Elf Radio is the undisputed home of Christmas music in Australia.
“It’s been an annual tradition since 2009. Broadcasting on DAB+ in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, and streamed on iHeartRadio. Every year the station gets bigger and bigger. With Christmas fans reaching out to iHeartRadio asking when it will start from early September!
“The brand and imaging is all about bringing to life the magic of Christmas, for families, friends, and of course the kids. So the natural alignment is to partner with Elf on the Shelf!
“Listener Competition! In 2019 we invited kids to submit their Christmas shout out so they can be on air, and to win their very own Elf on the shelf.|The competition was published on all ARN digital and analogue stations websites and promoted on air with promo spots…
“Audience Growth! In the North Pole, December 26 is survey day! And 2019 was a huge year for audience growth…
- 191,908 streaming hours
- 58,000 unique listeners
- 164,026 stream starts
- An average listening session of 1 hour and 12 minutes..
“It’s the station for the season that families love. The original, and still the best!
“Elf Radio – The North Poles Number One Hit Music Station!”